Sorry for the relative radio-silence as of late! I was, shall we say, down with some sickness for the past fews days and didn’t feel up to pondering the state of the world… instead, I pondered the state of my nose-leakage.
Anyhow, I’m back! And hopefully today’s post will make up for the absence, at least a bit.
So, on to today’s subject matter. As usual, I came upon this from reading an article on-line. This time, it was the article titled “5 Unexpected Downsides of High Intelligence,” over on Cracked.com.
This article goes into detail on some statistics that seem to look bad for intelligent people. What are they? Well, apparently highly intelligent people are more likely to be night owls, which results in health problems, you’re more likely to lie, which makes you an asshole, you’re more likely to believe BS, which leads to really smart people also being really stupid, you’re more likely to be self-destructive, think drug-use and drunks, and they’re less likely to pass on their genes, which after all of that seems like it might be a good thing.
So what does this mean? Does it mean anything? If you’re like me, the first thing you thought of was the (almost good) movie “Idiocracy,” a Mike Judge movie from 2006… here’s the intro:
Thankfully, I’m pretty sure that’s not actually how human evolution works. But what this movie, and this article do most successfully, is make me question whether or not intelligence is actually the cause of all these things.
What this made me think of even more is the changing nature of what it means to be smart. If you’ve read this blog for awhile, you know that I watch kid’s television. And one of the reasons that I watch it is to see how we talk about things like intelligence.
Geeks are rarely the hero/heroines of shows, despite many shows that have whole episodes focused on trying to make doing you homework and being a good student look “cool.” And despite shows like “Freaks and Geeks,” making geeks sympathetic… the freaks are still the “cool” kids.
And as someone who has taught freshman English classes at a state university, this isn’t something that kids are growing out of. It’s still not seen as cool to do your homework, or to be the one that answers all the questions, no matter how cool I thought I was when I was the one always raising my hand. (And let’s face it, I’ll always be that kind of person.)
What this really leads me to believe is that these results aren’t just results of being “highly intelligent,” instead, let’s call it “highly marginalized.” Because, let’s face it, it’s hard to be smart. The smarter you are the harder it is to find people you relate to, people who understand what it is to see the world in the same way you do. Intelligence has become just another factor people use to marginalize/codify how they understand people and limit what we believe someone is able to do.
And why are geeks less likely to have kids? Sure, you can joke about it like “Idiocracy,” but you try being a woman in any still male-dominated field of academia and try to pause your career to have a child.
To me, this is just another sign of the times. That is, if the sign’s saying “it’s time to change.”